Asawin Suebsaeng

Asawin Suebsaeng

Reporter

Asawin Suebsaeng is a reporter at the Washington, DC, bureau of Mother Jones. He has also written for The American Prospect, the Bangkok Post, and Shoecomics.com.

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A graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn., Asawin came back to DC with hopes of putting his flimsy Creative Writing major, student newspaper tenure, and interest in human rights and political chicanery to some use. He started cutting his teeth at F&M's student-run weekly, The College Reporter, serving as editor in chief. He has interned at The American Prospect, been a reporter for the Bangkok Post, and scribbled for ShoeComics.com. His favorite movie is either Apocalypse Now or Pirahna 3D, depending on the day or mood.

Guinness and Other Beers Pull Out of St. Patrick's Day Parade Over Ban on Openly Gay Marchers

| Mon Mar. 17, 2014 11:54 AM EDT

Three beer giants—the manufacturers who bring you Heineken, Sam Adams, and Guinness—have pulled their sponsorship of Saint Patrick's Day parades in New York City and Boston over the events' policy of anti-LGBT discrimination. (The Boston parade took place on Sunday, while the NYC one is on for Monday.) Both parades technically allow gay groups to march but ban signs and placards regarding sexual orientation. The withdrawals came following pressure from gay rights activists over the ban. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh also skipped their respective parades.

Sam Adams pulled its sponsorship of the Boston parade last week. Here is their statement, via Boston Beer Company spokeswoman Jessica Paar:

We have been participating in the South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade for nearly a decade and have also supported the St. Patrick’s Day breakfast year after year. We've done so because of the rich history of the event and to support veterans who have done so much for this country.

We were hopeful that both sides of this issue would be able to come to an agreement that would allow everyone, regardless of orientation, to participate in the parade. But given the current status of the negotiations, we realize this may not be possible.

We share these sentiments with Mayor Walsh, Congressman Lynch and others and therefore we will not participate in this year’s parade. We will continue to support Senator Linda Dorcena Forry and her St. Patrick’s Day breakfast. We wish her all the best in her historic stewardship of this tradition.

Here is Heineken's statement, given on Friday, regarding the New York parade:

We believe in equality for all. We are no longer a sponsor of Monday's parade.

Guinness, which is part of Diageo, weighed in on Sunday:

Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all. We were hopeful that the policy of exclusion would be reversed for this year's parade. As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation. We will continue to work with community leaders to ensure that future parades have an inclusionary policy.

Responses from LGBT activists have been generally positive. "Heineken sent the right message to LGBT youth, customers and employees who simply want to be part of the celebration," Sarah Kate Ellis, president of GLAAD, said, for instance.

Parade organizers did not immediately respond to Mother Jones' requests for comment.

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The Whimsical Fascists of Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel"

| Fri Mar. 14, 2014 1:20 PM EDT
Willem Dafoe and Adrien Brody as "fascist assholes."

Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel is very, very Wes Anderson—which is to say that the colors pop, the quirky humor abounds, and your emotions are sneakily toyed with. Few directors have the kind of total control over the way their actors talk, move, and express quite like Anderson does. Anderson's singular style and eccentricities make virtually everything in his films (even harrowing elements such as suicide and war) oddly whimsical. And in The Grand Budapest Hotel, a Nazi analog is made into something of a goofy villain.

The comedy is set primarily in the 1930s in Zubrowka, a fictional central-European republic that has endured European totalitarianism and world war (the movie was shot on location in Germany, but the setting, sounds, and visuals were, in Anderson's words, "a pastiche of the greatest hits of...Eastern Europe"). The core of the narrative (starring Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Tony Revolori, Saoirse Ronan, Harvey Keitel, and several Anderson regulars) is a murder mystery, but the backdrop routinely advances to the fore as the grip of a fascist party grows more and more clenched. "Part of why I feel the impulse to reimagine [World War II] rather than just do it is because it's been done so many times before," Anderson told NPR.

Here Is President Obama's "Between Two Ferns" Interview With Zach Galifianakis

| Tue Mar. 11, 2014 9:02 AM EDT

Tuesday morning, comedy website Funny or Die released an episode of Zach Galifianakis' satirical interview show Between Two Ferns featuring Barack Obama. The 44th president came on to promote the Affordable Care Act. (At the end of the six-and-a-half-minute video, there is a link to Healthcare.gov.)

The whole thing is pretty funny. To be clear, it isn't going to set the world on fire or anything, but there are definitely some amusing bits. ("What is it like to be the last black president?" "Seriously?") Funny or Die has a very good relationship with the Obama administration, which includes creating a recent batch of pro-Obamacare videos, and even pitching the president a sketch idea directly. Galifianakis is himself an Obama supporter.

Here is the whole bit for your viewing pleasure:

 

Or as the White House describes it:

"24: Live Another Day" Will Deal With US Drone Warfare

| Mon Mar. 10, 2014 4:10 PM EDT

Last Friday, Fox posted a new trailer for 24: Live Another Day, the upcoming limited event series that continues the famous Jack Bauer action saga (which wrapped its initial eight-season run in 2010). The show, starring Kiefer Sutherland as counterterrorism agent Bauer, came on the air just two months after 9/11, and frequently incorporated the political debates and context of the post-9/11 world. 24 got a reputation for right-wing Bush-era messaging (Bauer tortures a whole lot of people, and often extracts the world-saving information he needs very quickly), but also featured oilmen, shady business interests, and Republican politicians at the center of terrorist conspiracies.

Flash-forward to 2014, and you'll find 24's political framing has adjusted accordingly with the times. In the new trailer, you'll catch a brief shot of an anti-drone protest in London during the US president's visit. "Drones DESTROY our Humanity," and so forth, the placards read:

24 tv show Fox drones
Fox/YouTube

"We have analogues for the Snowden affair and the drone issue is a backdrop," executive producer Howard Gordon said earlier this year.

In Live Another Day, the drone-warrior president is James Heller (played by William Devane), who served as Secretary of Defense under two Republican presidents, and first appeared in season four. (Devane also played the President of the United States in The Dark Knight Rises.) During the fourth season of 24, Heller criticizes Michael Moore, and later signs off on the torture of his gay, anti-American son on suspicions that he's in contact with Muslim extremists.

Watch the new 24: Live Another Day trailer here:

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